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This Might Be a Bad Time for Virginia to End its Eviction Ban

A Supreme Court-mandated moratorium on evictions is set to expire on June 29, two days before the monthly rent is due. And the state’s rent relief program isn’t ready yet.  

In Virginia’s state capital, Richmond, Governor Ralph Northam’s efforts to thwart a wave of mid-pandemic evictions are about to be tested. 

In Virginia’s state capital, Richmond, Governor Ralph Northam’s efforts to thwart a wave of mid-pandemic evictions are about to be tested. 

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America
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Three weeks ago, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam wrote an urgent letter to the chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. He feared that a wave of evictions would swallow thousands of struggling tenants in Virginia, and the existing state and federal regulations would not be enough to stop it. The governor needed the court to order a stop on eviction hearings for 30 days in order to give the state time to stand up its emergency response.

“A subset of tenants, including those who are most vulnerable, may be evicted from their homes in the midst of this global pandemic,” Northam wrote in his June 7 memo. “To that end, my Administration is working to establish a comprehensive rent relief program that will provide targeted financial assistance to households still at risk of eviction during the pandemic.”